Thursday, January 16, 2020

The world through the world

Stories and News No. 1185
Once upon a time the world.
The one as we saw it as children, when everything we look at with our tiny eyes was already infinite, let alone what we still ignored and fantasized about.
Then things changed. They say it's the age that changes us. I believe other people do, more than time. The mechanical turn of the hands has never affected our history. The human beings that flow by us unexpectedly, at times illogical and often violent, but sometimes capable of incalculable tenderness, are the ones to influence our future, second by second.
One of the most decisive aspects regarding choices and thoughts, the feelings on which to focus the heart and which emotions to keep away from the intellect, it’s the screen through which we observe the world.
It is not always the same and probably that’s right. Every look, in each chapter of our personal story, needs the appropriate filter. The metaphorical glasses to look at the best, here and now, are chosen by searching the image that intrigues us, that is capable of making us think, but what our pupils will not stop craving with absolute priority are the plots able to give us relief from the pains accumulated since the first cry.
All of this could be summarized in “the world through which we observe the world”.

In a moment of conscious clarity, thinking that in

the most privileged corners of the planet – from where I write these words of mine – we prefer to contemplate life beyond us through a cold monitor, regardless of the resolution and the number of inches, it makes me sad.

Because there was a time that we can't forget, during which we watch everything with our own eyes. And because a huge number of our fellow humans on earth, by accident or by bad luck, sometimes due to our ignorant responsibility, are forced to scrutinize their surroundings through many other windows.

Like the lines that intertwined with each other
make up a cell, despite the prisoners are guilty of nothing but survival.

Like the smoke of the fire that burns and destroys, fragment after fragment, the perfect dream of a naive planet.

Like sea water that in an unnatural way, but we
should say inhuman, it replaces the sky and the latter is canceled from the story, as if it had never existed.
And maybe it would have been better so.

Like a blanket of dust that tastes of poverty, misery but still hope, in which we should have the honesty to enter, before talking about who lives there, or worse, they were born.

Like the space above a wall, the vital cracks and
the precious holes in it, which denounce its weakness and, hopefully, madness.

Like tears, but not temporary ones, which come and go in the same way as the rainy seasons, in a form of a perennial veil of inalienable sadness. For for some, remembering means having respect for pain, so that posterity will keep both intact.
And so on looking.

Nonetheless, thanks to the gift or deception from the magic called technology, in the world I live we may have the feeling of looking at everything on the comfortable and reassuring side of a transparent screen.
It doesn't hurt, in fact.
But once the spell is extinguished, we should remember that the world through the world is really out there, living or dying, yearning or rejoicing, with a fast beating heart before the imminent danger or with the arms in the sky in front of the windfall called fresh and clean water.
Maybe, every now and then, we should find an opportunity to rely only on them.
Our simple eyes from the past, and see the world through them again.

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

The weight of small numbers

Stories and News No. 1184
Once we called it the law of large numbers.
Today, it is the slavery of exaggerations.
It is a consequence, after all. One of the most uncomfortable contraindications of the unbridled rush to approximation of our lies.
Because many of us live on lies, today. Often venial, sometimes more serious, but that’s Internet, we’re on a social media, then I could delete, right? Indeed, that’s something better: I may write another one! And so on. Moved by the illusion of really going away.
And yet, at the dawn of the new year, I still like to see it as a story.
The fable of small numbers, of course.
Which hardly get the front page of the news and it is understandable. There are many examples: to make noise we need to be many, to be truly

successful, a prize is not enough, but a lot, and to attract the gaze of the average reader you need at least thousands of pixels, otherwise he doesn’t even believe the truth.
Give me the biggest number you have, that is the question and the answer comes, without sources, without heart and restraint.
Like more than 180 arsonists invented to deny climate change in Australia.
Or at least 80 dead soldiers bragged to prove that the war has being waged at least in two, and not a single planet against itself.
Nothing out of the ordinary, it's been the rule so far and maybe we got used to that too, I think.
I refer to the number of people protesting that night basing on the retouched photo, rather than the usual confirmations from the police headquarters.
I am talking about of how much he or she earns, it doesn't matter who, it doesn't matter why, as long as we can follow them on Instagram or Twitter and get into the light that emanates from those perfect creatures, as the ancient Greeks did with the gods of Olympus.
Of course, how not to mention the amount of followers and likes.
The number of bytes of memory on the new processor inside the new cellphone that does the same things as the old one, but more quickly, can you believe it?
The speed of the new city car from the new car maker, fusion of the usual old two houses, which does the same things as your first car, but more quickly, can you see it?
The figures on prime time ratings, even if traditional TV becomes every day more a household appliance of the last century.
However, there are also striking quantities that are consciously ignored.
It is the theory of relativity of consciousness, where the only reference system that matters does not cross the boundary of our apartment.
How many refugees died drowned last year trying to touch the shore closest to their illusions, rather than their hopes?
How many people suffer from hunger and thirst between one solidarity marathon and another?
How many lives are torn from the world like leaves by the wind in non-marketable attacks and how many more are there, now, on the edge of the ravine, between the end and one of the many, possible continuations on the path of a fragile survival?
Well, I said at the beginning, it's true. The risk of becoming accustomed to the common doing is high, because this comes from the overload of connection between our virtual versions.
Nevertheless, sometimes, we can still make our own independent choices.
I dare say ancient, but I don't want to seem older than I am.
To dwell on the one, instead of the many, or even all of them.
Like a boy getting on a plane in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Africa.
To sit down, so to speak, on the only place guaranteed to those like him, small and negligible numbers.
His latest class, more than first, second or even third: the undercarriage.
He leaves, but he will never arrived in Paris. Not him, not what could have been and nothing of what he would have written with his life that we will never read.
Close your eyes now, open your hands to the sky and imagine with me that boy in your arms.
If you feel the weight, all the incalculable weight, despite the noise of the vast and abundant rest, well, I would be inclined to believe that maybe there is still some hope for humanity...

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

The migrant revolution

Stories and News No. 1183
This is a fairy tale, nothing to do with everyday life, that is hard to many and easy only to a few. Nevertheless, you will see that sooner or later everything will happen for real.

Once upon a time our beloved and troubled planet.
Once upon a time we, then as today, and probably tomorrow too.
Once upon a time there were also employees at the gates of the afterlife, ushers, security officers, or simple hostesses and stewards responsible for transit.
That day they were in great turmoil and never, since the beginning of time, the threat of a strike had been more possible.
The situation had become unsustainable and paradoxical.
At that moment, the workers responsible for the last of the human boundaries, perhaps the only one that really makes sense, felt intolerance and disbelief towards us.
Perhaps because there had been a time when they had been alive, exactly like us, and once they had passed away they had realized how much weight our dullness had. Unable to solve the problem on their own, they asked the older of them for help. As far as he had seen strange things, he did not have the suitable answer able to unblock the regrettable stalemate in which the process of ferrying souls had jammed.
Thus, though weary and limping, he got up and promised to raise the issue with his immediate superiors. I refer to the God of Christians and Allah, his prophet Muhammad and obviously Jesus, as well as Yahweh, the complete Hindu trimurti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Shiva, but also Confucius, the various deities of Taoism, Daoism, Shintoism and any other religion.
The problem was that the gods, all gods pleaded and worshiped since the first human being had seen the light, didn't show up around since a lot. They had been locked up in the conclave to argue heatedly, and the reasons were unknown to their subordinates.
The truth was that an increasingly growing group within the divine parliament – often fueled by obvious fake news, made and shrewdly spread by the diabolical tenant of the floor below – was tired of humans and proposed a definitive mass extinction. Maybe taking advantage of the consequences of global warming.
After all, it was the thought of many, they wrote their end.
However, the old clerk had a job to do. He knocked on the sacred door and after at least an hour of bows, and various demonstrations of reverence, he managed to speak.
"Your Gods," exclaimed the old man. "I could try to explain in words what's going on out here, but I think the best thing is that you see it all with your almighty eyes."
The ever-aged official preceded the various gods to the outside, and once they arrived at the entrance to the beyond, they realized what had happened.
A huge row of people, of which none of them could see the beginning, despite the perfection of their respective looks, crowded the road that led to the gates of hell.
"What's happening?" Asked one of the gods. "Who are those?"
"They are immigrants," replied the old man.
"And what are their sins?" Another asked.
"They don’t have any," explained the oldest of the humans present. "But as long as they were alive, humanity did everything to make them think of being guilty of migration, and each one of them, once he died, went to hell, even if he didn't deserve it at all."
"You will not let them in, I hope..." another god asked him.
"Certainly not," the clerk declared. "But the problem of clogging remains, even if the situation is much more tangled. Taking advantage of that, there is no longer anyone who deserves the hell to go in. With the result that the worst people, those really bad, petty or chronically selfish, they do not die and remain on earth as living mummies to accumulate wealth of which they no longer even feel better."
"What about paradise?" Intervened another divinity. "Who are those smiling guys at the gates of heaven, with trolleys, flip-flops and sunglasses?"
"Well... because of your absence on earth, they have corrupted the final judgment for the benefit of a privileged minority."
"But they are always the good ones, right?"
"No, it's just the ones that feel good and you all know better than me that it's never the same thing."
The gods were confused and perplexed, while proponents of the early extinction of mankind became even more compact in their hopes. The most reluctant were finally about to give in and agree too with the extreme solution, when a little girl turned away from the crowd on the road to hell, she passed the safety cordon unseen and reached the solemn heavenly assembly without fear. Difficult to have it after seeing death in the face at such a young age.
"I have a proposal," said the child in a ringing voice.
"Speak", one of the gods invited her.
"Since my brothers and I quarreled every night for those who should have been sleeping next to mom, she solved it with great intelligence."
"What did she do?" The old man asked.
"She told us that there is only one way to make justice and please everyone in this world. The sun and the moon, the stars and even the earth, the mother of all, taught us that."
"What is that?" Asked another god.
"You should know it, I think: to twist the knobs of destiny, when the time has come, and turn the sense of things so that everyone enjoys their moment in which to appreciate the value of light, like darkness. I mean, we took turns. Many mortals need a whole existence to understand it. But for you it should be the consequence of a simple gesture."
At that precise moment every creature, perfect or not, had a clear idea of what had to be done to put things back in order.
There followed a snap of divine fingers, a beat of eternal hands or transcendent eyelashes, even a mere unearthly glance and the device on which the entire afterlife was held was activated. A moment later, the holiest and fairest of the rotations took place.
A few seconds later, there was a big party among the immigrants and screams of joy went around everywhere, from the last earth border to all the universe itself. Because they found themselves in front of the gates of paradise.
At the same time, the thin line of elegant tourists with self-praised conscience were instead expected to hell.
"It's not fair!" Someone dared to protest.
"You don't know who you're dealing with," someone else yelled.
"You will hear news from my lawyer," another one threatened.
While the gods observed the scene satisfied, and the girl child was overwhelmed of hugs and thanks from the crowd, the old man immediately went back to work and joined the employees in charge of managing the damned.
"Guys, let's do it," he announced, pulling up his sleeves. "I am convinced that the revolution is not over here. I think at these turnstiles we will see endless swarms of alleged smart people who have not the faintest idea what awaits them at the end of the story..."

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Racism in the Black Friday of Italian football

Stories and News No. 1182
Italy football newspaper Corriere dello Sport presented the upcoming match between Inter and Roma with an infamous title.
Here is how the editor, Ivan Zazzaroni, explains that: “Whites, blacks, Yellow. Denying the

difference is the typical macroscopic stumbling block of anti-racism’s racism. Black Friday, to those who want and can understand it, was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of difference, the magnificent wealth of difference.”

Well… I have a different opinion about what a difference is.
Lukaku and Smalling. The former is a striker. One who craves the goal. Who tries to see the net dancing thanks to its own aim, his strength or even the luck of having succeeded in defeating his greatest enemy, the last guardian and protector of the result until proven otherwise. In short, the goalkeeper.
The latter is a defender. One that prevents the goal. Who tries to keep the friendly door safe with his quick reflexes, through dedication to the cause, or just the good fortune of being at the right moment in the perfect place. To finally win against his main opponent. The hostile ram, the tip of the antagonist spear. In one word, the striker.
Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku, facing each other.
Chris is an English citizen of Jamaican descent, while the Romelu is Belgian with parents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And if you will have the opportunity to meet them one evening at dinner, to listen to the story of their respective childhoods and adolescences, you could find that there are an infinite number of original nuances coming to light from children of immigrants in distinct places in the old continent. Because Antwerp is completely different from the London borough of Greenwich. Because every father, each mother, foreign or not, raises their offspring incomparably. And because we all react according to our own nature to the inclusion or intolerance by others over the doorstep.
Lukaku against Smalling, for one night.
The former is not married and has no children, while the latter has a wife and is a father. Even just for this fundamental aspect, between the two there is an ocean of experiences to divide them.
Among all, the exact moment when you realize that your partner has gave you the gift she was carrying. Because for the first time you see with the naked eye the miracle you have played a small part in and take him – or her – in your arms, hoping to be able to deserve with love and commitment, day after day, to be an accomplice of such a wonder.
Smalling that challenges Lukaku, and the latter accept the fight.
The former lost his father when he was just five years old, while the latter’s dad is still alive and is a former footballer, as is his brother and cousin. So, imagine what it means to take the football field, from an early age, with the certainty that your father will be there every time in the stands, even just beyond the fence of the first pitches of the debut. Or not having it at all, except the hope that somewhere up there, he will find a free cloud to cheer for you.
Lukaku, Smalling, twenty-six years old, the first, thirty the second, which for an athlete is an enormous time. Because in four years and as many seasons you can win everything and lose all. Being celebrated as a champion or whistled as the most resounding loser.
Smalling, was converted to veganism by his partner and Lukaku is a fervent Catholic who went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, with all that makes life and the daily choices peculiar.
Lukaku lives and plays in Milan, Smalling does the same, but in Rome. And tell me which city citizen of both could say that their experiences are the same.
So on, below, every distinction that can be easily understood and completely relevant becomes evident. Especially if we had the interest and the time to discover the two human beings behind the role, running and kicking a ball on the field or beyond the TV screen.
Suddenly, an infinite quantity of essential and noteworthy aspects would become obvious, a real myriad of significant details, which make two people unique, as many lives and personal stories.
Smalling, Lukaku. Lukaku and Smalling.
If only we could do it, it would certainly not suffice a single post to list how many differences between everyone of us we could praise, recognize as a reason for pride and richness, before arriving at the colour of the skin...

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

The planet of effects without a cause

Stories and News No. 1181
Once upon a time there was a planet.
Let's talk about it as if we were in a science fiction story.
One of those that we consider improbable and that sometimes we use to relax, like catastrophic movies or those fails videos, and everyone laughs.
Because we are not the ones who fall.
The planet was very bizarre and the creatures were no less, compactly consistent in defining the common horizon on the basis of a questionable assumption: the relationship of cause and effect is outdated, since what really matters is the latter. Everything else is boring, even if it could save the present, and so the future.
By analogous reasoning, the obtuse extra-inhabitants refused the third law of dynamics, the principle of action and its logical reply.
According to such an unfortunate species, there was only the reaction, period. The origin, the gesture and every initial choice were never on the agenda.
Thus, the ways in which these unconscious guys interpreted life were the following: do they rain entire oceans on the cities? Do temperatures plummet or rise with delusional progression? Do the glaciers melt into tears of burning anger towards the culprits, rather than mere sadness?
It's bad weather, damn.
Do roofs collapse on the lives they should protect? Do voracious chasms eat cars, widely open like insatiable mouths on the busiest roads? Do bridges crumble like helpless truths, replaced by lies with a delayed burst?

Awful accidents, things happen.
Are the acts of intolerance increasing towards the most vulnerable people? Just as insulting phrases towards minorities end up in the limelight by those who should set a good example? Is the discrimination of any kind of discrepancy from the Aryan model a daily matter?
These are difficult times, but today is better than in the past.
Does the party of non-voters grow from election to election, in a transversal and transnational way? Has the lack of confidence in the political class been suspended by the stock market due to an excess of upside? On the other hand, is the intellectual and moral level of the contenders at the helm of the democratic ship so low as to become irrelevant inside the electoral round?
That's what people want, and people are always right.
Are the populations escaping from hell soaring, in search of the paradise that has been stolen from them? Are there fear and isolation in the countries most suspected of this unjust crime? Are the direct descendants of the guilty institutions working as bulwark to defend the threatened homeland?
It's normal, we can't all be happy.
Telling the truth, only a few enjoyed this privilege, and every day less, but as they used to say on the planet of the effect without a cause, that’s what it is. Take or leave. So, take it, quick. Grab all you can and keep going.
Until the inevitable conclusion: have our incautious settlements been submerged by the waves driven by the current stupidity? Have fires devoured any trace of the passage of the most masochistic entity in the universe? Didn't war and climate change yet understand who had the credit for our destruction?
In short, are we extinct?
It was destiny, we’ll see next time.
Too bad, though, that the story is over...

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

The dream of the viewer voter user nationalist

Stories and News No. 1180
Thank you, beloved television.
Thanks, dear internet.
Thanks to you all, precious social networks.
Thank you, Bush senior, for paving the way.
Thanks to your great son, George W. Bush, for still having the courage to show himself in public, despite the large quantity of gaffes with which you have made yourself noticed over the years.
But above all, thanks to you, Donald Trump.
I look at you in the firmament of my idols and, finally, I no longer feel any embarrassment for what I am.
I had a dream, you know, my saviors? Yes, just like the leader par excellence, the one who was babbling about human rights while getting three meals a day at tax payers' expense at that famous Birmingham hotel, as a friend of mine told me on Facebook.
I looked at myself in the mirror and got depressed. Not for the appearance, which is a subjective discourse, but for what I felt.
I felt uneasy before those left-wing snobs, only because I never read books, except those that forced me to study at school.
They made me feel inferior with their glances from the top down, only because my vocabulary is scarce and my English poor.
They act like superiors everywhere, on the street and in the workplace, because I am not able to understand their openness to new things and diversity.
What's wrong with being closed? What is the mistake in not wanting to evolve? Why are we not free to always remain with the same ideas in mind?
I often fought with such questions and didn't come out. Also because I kept them for myself, afraid of being mocked or humiliated.
For this reason I have always stayed away from the typical venues of those presumptuous. Never entered a theater. Barely in a library. Rarely, very seldom, in a museum. It was a necessary life choice, I needed to protect myself.
For the time that was, at this moment I have to thank you, the adoptive mother of us all, dear TV.
You welcomed me and defended me. You comforted me when I needed it and I found love and a people to be part of: the viewers.
Being accepted was what I wanted, but Fox News gave me even more.
They chose me as their favorite son. How could I not do the same and join the ranks of George's voters when he needed me?
Then, at the end of the last century, the dream suddenly became a nightmare. God, mine, is dead, or almost. Riddled by the moralistic bullets of the hypocrisy snipers. But at the same time, alongside the decomposition of the messiah of us all, mediocre for ambition, the true promised land began to appear on the horizon.
Internet, which should be blessed forever. At the beginning I was wary, because the words were strange and complicate, and computers weren't like TV, where you just need to press the buttons on the remote and stay on the sofa.
Then came the smartphones and above all our personal Avengers, the Social Networks. From that moment, everything has changed. All has been accomplished. Because while those ones, the loners with complicated speeches, had deluded themselves that the web was a way to unite everyone, someone else was less megalomaniac and more concrete, contenting himself to begin by bringing the few closer together, and at the same time dividing all the others.
Well, in a few years those few have become many, or perhaps they seem to, it does not change, while the ways in which to isolate and humiliate our opponents have increased dramatically. And since each of them has felt alienated by those who think like him, there is no need to lie about their real numbers. Because if someone feels a zero, the sum of the many will always give zero.
At the same time I discovered that being an intolerant user is like having super special powers. You can be whoever you want, have the name and the face you wish. And more than anything else, you can slander and offend anyone at any time.
But there is more. At the dawn of the last elections, the dream has come true beyond all expectations. Because as a viewer, voter and user, supporting the nationalist vision, I now know that I can aspire to a world made for myself.
Because offending and insulting others are manifestations of jokes.
Because the laws of the State and those of ethics are not only to be violated, but even rewritten for my use and consumption.
And because ignoring history, as well as expressing myself in a grotesque way and filling my speeches with lies, demonstrating an absolute lack of respect for the feelings and dignity of anyone, can make me acclaimed as a star.
Thanks to all of you for making me a proud citizen for what I used to feel ashamed of.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

The grammar of racism

Stories and News No. 1179
Kone Yossodjo is nineteen years old and today he runs.
He runs for his country, the new one, Spain. Which is also new, at least faster, if not better, also thanks to him.
Five years ago, Kone was forced to run not for something, but from.
From his own country, the old one, the Ivory Coast. Which, past or present, will also be his land forever, perhaps poorer and less fast, but that’t not his fault. And when surviving involves running away from something, of which one is completely innocent, what will come out from that will be good, and so for everyone.
Today he is a future star of athletics, in the largest and most populous nation of the Iberian peninsula. In the last year he has won 5 races out of 11 and is currently the absolute champion of the 5000 meters in Andalusia. The most surprisingly thing, not even a year after arriving in Spain, after being arrested and then transferred to a center for minors, he began to show all his talent, propelled by a magical and special wind that the chair judges could not detect, like many people from the atrophied human senses.

It's called hope, period. Without looking up or down, ready to take everything that will be there on arrival, as long as it is there.
In short, now he runs for his land and no longer from it.
I believe it took years, hard work and pain, sacrifices and unspeakable difficulties. And yet, on the safe side of the finish line, where most of the time we watch in the stands with our thumbs fond of the upside down position, we could really make the difference in a much more immediate time and, definitely, with much less effort.
We could just make a mere lexical conversion. It would be enough to change articles, pronouns and prepositions, simple or articulated.
For example, every now and then, we could stop talking about migrants and start communicating with them. And if any one of them should inevitably become the topic of our speeches, we should begin to say something about him, not before doing the best we can to know his personal story, instead of hastily putting him inside the usual macro faceless and rights-less category that as a society we have invented one of our worst days.
At that point, it would be clear to everyone how absurd and even stupid it is trying explain our opinion about the immigrants, since ‘them’ would no longer exist, but an indefinite number of lives each one different from the other, where everybody has got load of experiences distinct from the others, just like those who claim to grind them all together in their heads, and then, a second later, issue a quick, summary judgment.
Maybe, with a good dose of optimism, we could hope that at the dawn of the new day, observing the umpteenth ship packed with people, apparently merged with each other in a botched painting, where the colour of the skin would be the only shade that the brush of our impoverished imagination has been able to recognize, we will start to correct the grammar of racism.
Because choosing to engage with someone who needs our help does not mean being against everyone else. And if not even the logical analysis succeeds in making it understandable, let's try with humanity.
Let's try again, again, and again. Because as long as the Kone’s of this world won't surrender, well, maybe we won't have to do it either.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with Storytellers for Peace

The next 9th of November will be the 30th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall.
Also today we see the rising of other walls to divide humanity, destroying dreams, breaking hopes and lives too.
Please, join us to listen our last video about the horrible walls between us, from the past until now.

Storytellers for Peace was born in June 2016. It is an international network of narrators who create collective stories through videos.
Artists come from all over the world and tell stories about peace, justice, equality and human rights.
All participants tell stories in their first language.
The final work is a multilingual storytelling video showing how much the world might be powerful, beautiful and peaceful when it is united on a good purpose.
The project was created and is coordinated by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher, author, storyteller, stage actor and director.

In order of appearance:

Beatriz Montero, author and storyteller from Spain.

Barry Stewart Mann, professional storyteller, educator, actor and author from USA.

Katharina Ritter, author and storyteller from Germany.

Claus Strigel, filmmaker, producer and screenwriter from Germany.

Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher, founder and coordinator, author, playwright, storyteller, stage actor and director from Italy.

Sandra Burmeister G., author, actress, storyteller and theatrical pedagogist from Chile.

Hamid Barole Abdu, author, storyteller and poet from Eritrea.

Oriana Fiumicino, playwright, storyteller, stage actress and director from Italy.

Roberto Pentassuglia, guitarist from Italy.

Mahfuz Jewel, storyteller, journalist, poet and visual artist from Bangladesh.

Enrique Páez, author from Spain.

Cecilia Moreschi, author, playwright, stage actress and director from Italy.

Lisi Amondarain, storyteller from Argentine.

D.M.S. Ariyrathne, storyteller and actor from Sri Lanka.

Bridgid Soames, teacher from Australia.

Suzanne Sandow, director, actress and storyteller from Australia.

The video:

Storytellers for Peace:
Youtube Channel:

Thursday, October 24, 2019


Stories and News No. 1178
The 39 people found dead on a truck in England on Wednesday, whose origin was unknown, were Chinese. Yes, now we know they are Chinese.

Thirty-nine is a news, because numbers matter. The numbers are facts and no one can discuss or manipulate them.
But it depends, it is obvious and, every now and then, it must be remembered.
First of all, thirty-nine football players.
All champions, all outstanding athletes. It is the ranking of the best ones. Indeed, no, it is the whole favorite team, with all the new arrivals, especially the last one, the future star, who will take the place of the old captain in the dreams of the fans.
On the other hand, when you are thirty-nine years old you can't expect to run from door to door without blinking, that's it.
Next, the thirty-nine girlfriends of the stars on the field. The inevitable beauties that sparkle in the stadium’s chairs or that suddenly appear among the Instagram profiles of the husbands to steal subscribers and likes.
Then, what else? In no particular order, thirty-nine absences in a single month at the European parliament of the umpteenth politician who built his fortune by selling lies to tarnish the old continent.
After that, thirty-nine contenders at the new reality show, and only one will remain. Too bad, they are still too many. Couldn't we get rid of the junk all at once?
Again, the thirty-ninth version of your loved cell phone, which will have everything that was not there before, but less than the one they will force you to buy tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and so on.
It's important anyway, it is, take note, listen and don't get distracted, because then the system will interrogate you and you can't be caught unprepared on the popular lesson.
What? Thirty-nine inches? Are you kidding me? The TV is your horizon and it deserves space. Thirty-nine twice, you mean. You have to watch our programs in a big way, bigger and bigger, otherwise you realize what's outside the edges...
Consequently, as many as thirty-nine walls are being planned on our borders, the money has been allocated, the agreements established and the handshakes already sanctioned. Because it takes little to maintain the promises of fear. Courage needs time and we have little of it.
At most thirty-nine seconds, the maximum amount of attention you need to get every rash saturated with lies about the poor of this world, between a slice of social network board and a brief clip during an aperitif with friends.

Only thirty-nine, not even forty, to comment about life with a detached brain and a heart never connected, to howl their misery before the world's differences, whether it is from the stands rather than the window of a car, to bring to the square noise mixed with ignorance and the few become the people, or the entire population.
Because it is true that the numbers are facts and should not dispute, but it is only valid if you have at least a shred of idea on how many thirty-nine are.
Otherwise, even the most unpleasant of imaginable guy becomes able to convince the majority, that the few who support him are a lot.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

The lion and the mosquitoes

Stories and News No. 1177
At home, on this planet, somewhere.

A man and his son meet again for dinner in the kitchen after their respective paths during the day, both fueled by an unshakable faith in the belief that however the day goes, at the end of the journey one will be there for the other.
Because that, forever, it is exactly what Hanna, wife and mother left behind, would have wished for, on the umpteenth travel towards the promised survival, even before the land.
Yohaness is ten years old and his eyes, of size and depth nourished by a burning desire for lightness, confirm that.
At the same time, however, the thick wrinkles that sometimes ruffle the forehead sound out of time with the necessary joviality on the face.
It is a real pity, but that is the price that is paid by those forced to experience the roughness of life ahead their natural trip. On the other hand, you can shell out this unfair toll in far worse ways.
"What’s up?" Ephrem asks his son. "You're particularly thoughtful tonight."
The child swallows another sip of soup and then, with a theatrical gesture, puts the spoon on the table.
Aware of the importance of the moment, the father does the same and leans on the back of the chair, widening his ears and heart, as if the former were directly connected with the latter.
"Today the teacher read us a fable by Aesop, a writer from ancient Greece."

"Beautiful. But why that face? Didn't you like it? "
"Yes, I liked it a lot."
"So what's wrong?"
"It’s what the teacher said immediately after."
"What she said?"
"She explained to us that fairy tales are very important and, although full of imagination and invented stuff, they teach us things that have to do with the every day reality, today too. Even if they were written a long time ago. We must listen carefully and think about it calmly, she added, to better understand what comes into our lives. "
"It's true, your teacher is absolutely right. What fable she read you? "
Yohaness's forehead is always furrowed, but his face becomes less tense, since he has got the umpteenth confirmation that his father is there, completely present at the usual evening appointment, before entrusting the helm of the ship to the deserved sleep.
"The mosquito and the lion, this is the title, I think."
"I don’t know it. Tell me about it."
With immense pleasure, it is the underlying answer.
"There is a mosquito that challenges the lion to show who is the strongest. When they do the duel, in front of all the other animals, the insect settles on the snout of the king of the forest and pricks it several times, while the lion does nothing but strike and injure itself, trying to drive it away. So the mosquito wins the challenge, but distracted by the joy of triumph it’s trapped by a spider web. It’s about to be attacked by the spider when the lion comes and saves it."
"Beautiful, really beautiful. It looks like one of our stories, when I was little kid as you..."
"Also the moral of the story is beautiful, dad. It teaches that you should not be too bold because, exactly when you convince yourself that you are invincible, you don’t see the small obstacles and you fall down."
"Right, I repeat, it's a beautiful fable. But then why are you so sad?"
"Because later I thought about it calmly and I’ve understood what comes into our lives. I mean, mine."
"Tell me everything, then. What did you understand?"
The priceless eyes mentioned above expand and become damp, a sign that there is something vulnerable at stake, as well as serious. As a result, Ephrem moves forward and brings his face closer to his son.
"I realized that we’re no longer lions. Maybe we used to be in Africa. Surely you was, dad. And mom too. But here we are something else, I am something else and I still have to understand what it is. But the mosquitoes... they are always the same, everywhere. Their buzz is the bad words and the hate looks with which they attack us every day. They never have the courage to challenge us alone, they always do it in so many. They also don't hit us on our nose but all over our body, outside and inside. Especially inside. Trying to protect ourselves often we hurt ourselves, that's what it's like in the fairy tale. Some of them fall down, but most don't and I think the spider has already given up."
Ephrem is deeply impressed by Yohaness's words and wonders if he has a vague idea of what a metaphor is, since he has just made one.
Now it is his look that widens his boundaries and he is moved. Because, metaphor or not, the child's words concern him personally exactly in the same way.
Ever since they lost Hanna they have never been so close, soul that touches soul, respective sensations that merge and horizon that becomes very common.
Read it also as our irrepressible story for the future.
"You know what, Yohaness?"
"Even what you thought is like a fairy tale, to me. And as you did with Aesop, I also intend to think about it calmly and understand what comes into our lives, I mean mine. "
"Well done, daddy."
"But one thing I can tell you right now."
"The fact that here you are something else, but you have not yet understood what it is, is your greatest strength."
"Because unlike the vile mosquitoes, the spiders that surrender, the old lions like me and all the others, the day will come when you’ll be everything you want, my son."

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Of bricks and wars

Stories and News No. 1176
It's war. That is, there is war, because we are talking about it again.
But this does not mean that there was not already here.
Because peace has a price, so the silence of newspapers and parliaments all over the world. And, sorry, it is still called war too.
So let's go away, but only to come back soon, I promise.
Perhaps with a lighter heart, though filled to the brim, and less closed eyes.
Once upon a time, therefore, two children. Because that is what we are dealing with. An eternal and tireless child's play, but with very serious rules and often tragic consequences.
It is a particular pastime, though, since time insists to stop it, rather than facilitating its run, ending up trapping the hands of the human watch by doing the same with the wings we could open, if only we had believed Icarus's dream.
Anyway it is a brick game. Of cement, clay or plastic it makes no difference, although the latter has the further contraindication of pollution.
The very young challengers, just as ambitious and naive, have two perfectly contrasting roles.
We could call them in a lot of ways, but I hope ‘you’ and ‘I’ will make things easier and more understandable to most people. Well, it should be the first rule of a good storyteller.

In any case, this ancient entertainment begins according to the script.
You put two bricks between us, I distract you with a nice grimace and take one out.
You notice the shortcoming and add three more with an aggressive and peremptory gesture.
I stretch myself and then I start the characteristic dance of the convulsive forehead, an art conceived by the semi-unknown tribe of thought-harrowing thinkers.
You raise your head for a second and I take this opportunity to remove at least a couple of bricks.
Then I get a cramp on my imagination and I fall to the ground. You laugh at me and, at the same time, you guide your gaze on the playing field.
You count the bricks that are missing, you rant and threateningly put your hand to your stocks; then you place six bricks on the line that separates us.
"Wall!" You exclaim. "There is a wall between us."
"I see it," I note. "There is a wall and it was there before."
Exactly like the war of this short story’s incipit.
However, I do not desist. I can’t, I don't have to.
We cannot and we must not.
Because we are the only ones left there, on the most vulnerable side of the border.
So, I catch my breath, gather my strength and, above all, look for the courage inside of me.
But where did I put it? Oops, here it is, I see it there, hidden under noise and solitude.
Two other bricks, in some ways, very heavy, although elusive.
Courage, on the other hand, as opposed to what is told, is subtle and delicate.
The real one, I mean, is just a page, a trivial sheet of paper with some words of great value.
They describe one of the simplest and least respected memories. It regards what life is worth fighting for. They are few and could stay in the palm of your hand. Or a page, exactly like this one.
Therefore, once I recover the precious ingredient, I clear my voice and I sing. Yes, I sing at the top of my voice as long as the vocal tails will hold. And you, my friend, you can't help but listen to my tattered but passionate warblers.
Because what I'm trying to intone is not just my song, but ours. It is the soundtrack of the meeting that brings us one in front of the other, every day, from the very first one, until today.
It is the hymn of a victory and a defeat, of one or the other, at its worst.
At its best, it is when you decide to combine your voice with mine, even if only to show you are a better singer than me. And I am also willing to give you that, if it means peace.
We could be everything, we could discover all.
We could even grow and finally become adults.
If only we stopped wasting our time with this dull game.
Of bricks and wars...

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